Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! This means we are four days away from WAC play beginning. Yes, can you believe that league play is right around the corner? Southern Utah at New Mexico State tips off a really good first week of conference games. And it comes after a really solid first two months of the 2022-23 season.
With that being said, as that time approaches, it is time to give some credit where it is due for performances throughout non-conference play.
So, let’s start with the midseason WAC All-Freshman Team.
Chendall Weaver – UT Arlington
Weaver has started the last six games for Greg Young and the Mavericks. The 6-3 freshman guard is averaging 8.1 points and 4.5 rebounds while averaging a little more than 25 minutes per game as a true freshman. In his last three games, Weaver is averaging 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds while playing over 33 minutes per game.
Greg Young trusts this true freshman point guard. And rightly so. Weaver’s athleticism combined with his knack for rebounding the basketball will earn you minutes as a youngster.
Brandon Walker – UT Arlington
Another one of the true freshman who has played a lot of minutes for the Mavericks. Walker is averaging 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds. The minutes haven’t been there over the past three games. But, Walker is still averaging close to 17 minutes per game and shooting 47 percent from the field. Walker’s best game came at LSU where he had 10 points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.
Scotty Washington – California Baptist
The 6-4 redshirt freshman burst onto the scene on Dec. 17 when he had a career-high 18 points in a win over Weber State. In fact, had it not been for Washington’s heroics, especially in the second half, CBU may have lost to the Wildcats at home. And since that performance over Weber State, Washington has played double digits minutes in every contest.
On Thursday, in a loss to Portland State, Washington was a perfect 3-3 from 3-point range in 10 minutes. With his length and ability to shoot the basketball, Washington should earn more time in league play.
Parsa Fallah – Southern Utah
Southern Utah’s 6-9 redshirt freshman center has won WAC Freshman of the Week multiple times thus far in 2022-23. Against West Coast Baptist, Fallah had 23 points and 17 rebounds in 19 minutes. The big thing we have to see from Fallah is better production against Division I competition. 13 minutes is the most amount of time Fallah has seen the floor against Division I competition. With WAC play approaching, size could play a difference for the T-Birds so if Fallah can produce, he could possibly be a game-changer.
Adante’ Holiman – UTRGV
The highest recruit to sign with UTRGV has been really good for Matt Figger and the Vaqueros. Holiman could be in the running for a Sixth Man of the Year award. The 6-0 true freshman is averaging 5.8 points and shooting 43 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point land.
As the minutes go up, Holiman’s numbers will go up. The McAlester native is averaging 19.5 minutes per game. But with a guard-heavy WAC, Holiman should see the floor a little more especially when combined with Will Johnston and Justin Johnson.
Ethan Potter – Utah Valley
Sure, the stats don’t jump out at you. But, the 2021 Utah Mr. Basketball winner has given Mark Madsen some really good minutes when called upon. That was no more apparent than on Tuesday when Potter had to play extended minutes in the Wolverines win at Oregon. Both Utah Valley forwards, Tim Ceaser and Tim Fuller, were in foul trouble most of the game. And Potter had his name called in a big moment.
Sure, he only had two points and one rebound. But, Potter was able to step in and contribute in a big moment. Let’s just say this…Ethan Potter earned more trust from his head coach on Tuesday.
Kobe Knox – Grand Canyon
GCU’s 6-5 redshirt freshman guard is another one of those players who plays well when called upon. It’s just a matter of being stuck behind some veteran guards. Knox sits behind Jovan Blacksher Jr., Ray Harrison, and Chance McMillian among others. It’s just one of those things. But, Knox has ability when he sees the floor. His best game against Division I competition was a 6-point, 2-rebound performance against Grambling on Nov. 19. If his minutes can increase, Knox might give the Lopes another scoring option.
Freshman around the league are hard to measure in terms of what they bring to the table. Some freshman, like Chendall Weaver and Brandon Walker, are a big part of the Mavericks rotation. Others, like a Scotty Washington or Parsa Fallah will see the floor when needed but aren’t necessarily guys that will see significant minutes. Same with the other three between the All-Freshman Team and the honorable mentions. That is what the transfer portal has done to the game of basketball.
Either way, it is good to see these freshman, among others around the WAC, step up and play well when their number is called.